China’s Protectionism Online Is Driving Its Own Decoupling With the U.S.

A display for 5G services from Chinese technology firm Huawei at the PT Expo in Beijing, Oct. 31, 2019 (AP photo by Mark Schiefelbein).
A display for 5G services from Chinese technology firm Huawei at the PT Expo in Beijing, Oct. 31, 2019 (AP photo by Mark Schiefelbein).
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In 2003, just as I was arriving in China as a correspondent for The New York Times, tectonic changes were coming to the worlds of internet commerce, search and social media. But their rumblings were so deep beneath the surface that few could have predicted their long-term consequences. That year, Alibaba, a four-year-old web company that had started out of an apartment in Hangzhou, fended off an ambitious push by eBay into China’s e-commerce market by eliminating merchant fees for Taobao, Alibaba’s own e-commerce platform, even as it was losing money. The move helped put Alibaba on the road to […]

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